Taustin Family Announces Big Changes For Ocean City, WOC Properties

Taustin Family Announces Big Changes For Ocean City, WOC Properties
Photo of BLU Crabhouse & Raw Bar courtesy of the business Facebook page

OCEAN CITY – The Embers Restaurant will close as plans move forward to redevelop the 24th Street property.

Last week, the Taustin family announced plans to redevelop the front portion of their 24th Street property where the Embers Restaurant has stood for more than 70 years.

Coming in 2022, the project will transform the property into a versatile space that will integrate the existing BLU Crabhouse & Raw Bar and Embers Island Miniature Golf while providing additional shopping, dining and entertainment opportunities.

“The Embers has so much history,” says Taustin Group President Jay Taustin, “and not just for our family, but for many OC locals and visitors. We plan to pay homage to our past as we venture into the future and lead the way once again in redefining what Ocean City has to offer.”

In an interview this week, Taustin Group Marketing Director Kyler Taustin said BLU Crabhouse will remain in operation with expanded and enhanced indoor and outdoor dining experiences for the 2021 season. However, major changes are in store for the neighboring Embers property.

“At this time we are exploring our options but it could, and potentially will, involve a demolition and rebuilding,” he said.

In 1985, the Embers Restaurant became an All-You-Can-Eat Seafood and Prime Rib Buffet, making it the first of its kind in Ocean City.

But after a challenging 2020 season, and the specific impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic on buffets, Kyler Taustin said the Taustin Group saw an opportunity to explore new options for the property.

“The main goal is to make it so that at any time of day you can come to the 24th Street property where the Embers currently exists and have something – whether it’s food, beverage, entertainment, a good time – and know that it’s a one-stop place to come and receive a great Ocean City experience,” he said.

While plans are still being finalized, the Taustin family said they are excited for the future of the 24th Street property.

“We are turning the page once again after a long and successful chapter in our history at the beach,” said Taustin Group CEO Cole Taustin. “The Embers will transform during this period, and all of us are very excited for you to see what is next.”

In addition to its 24th Street project, the Taustin Group is also set to break ground on a new waterfront container food port in West Ocean City.

Next month, the construction of Pier 23 will begin in West Ocean City where Mad Fish Bar and Grille once stood.

The Taustin family was forced to close the Mad Fish restaurant – located along the West Ocean City Commercial Harbor – in 2019 after being destroyed in a fire. The Taustin Group’s new venture, Pier 23, will be Ocean City’s first waterfront container food port.

The new restaurant will be a destination for quality entertainment and will offer an outdoor retreat surrounded by decked-out shipping containers, each with their own unique options; tacos, deli, grille, ice cream, or a full bar.  The final container is the stage for a line-up of DJs and live performers.

“We expect to be fully functional by this spring at Pier 23,” Kyler Taustin said.

He added the Taustin Group will release updates, including renderings, architectural highlights, and, eventually, construction photos for each of the projects.

“Innovation is the name of the game with the Taustin family,” he said, “and we’re excited to continue that tradition.”

For additional information as it becomes available, follow any Taustin Group company on their website and other social media outlets. Taustin Group is a family-owned collection of businesses, including Blu Crabhouse & Raw Bar, Pier 23, the Embers Restaurant and Embers Island Miniature Golf.

“With the formation of the Taustin Group, we looked at each of our entities to see how we can meet the needs of the day and develop our properties to their fullest potential while being at the forefront of the next chapter of the Ocean City experience,” said Cole Taustin.

About The Author: Bethany Hooper

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Bethany Hooper has been with The Dispatch since 2016. She currently covers various general stories. Hooper graduated from Stephen Decatur High School in 2012 and the University of Maryland in 2016, where she completed double majors in journalism and economics.